Report: Mautino facing federal investigation over questionable campaign spending
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino is facing a federal investigation related to campaign finances, according to a statement his spokesman released to several news outlets today.
Mautino has faced a mounting scandal over the past few months after questions arose about hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable campaign spending that occurred during his 24 years as a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 76th District.
The questionable campaign spending was first reported by Edgar County Watchdogs on Jan. 21, only three weeks after Mautino assumed the auditor general’s office.
Shortly after the story broke, Mautino retained public relations specialist Ryan Keith, who had been mostly silent before releasing statement to several media outlets today.
“Frank is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office in its investigation,” WAND-TV reported Keith as saying in statement. “Because this is an ongoing matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further until it is resolved.”
The announcement of the federal investigation comes only a day after the Illinois Times released a story that quoted an anonymous source who said Mautino's campaign workers were served with subpoenas from a federal grand jury more than a month ago.
The announcement of the federal investigation comes in the wake of the Illinois State Board of Elections launching its own investigation into Mautino's campaign finance records and on Monday demanding the auditor general answer to questions concerning the campaign expenses.
In addition, on a 20-strong group of General Assembly Republicans banded together on May 5 to write a letter and hold a press conference demanding Mautino provide answers to the inquiry.
Included in Mautino’s campaign finance records, was more than $200,000 spent at Happy’s Super Service in Spring Valley -- Mautino’s hometown -- on gas and vehicle repairs over an 11-year period. The records also contain details about irregularities in payments to Spring Valley City Bank for services unrelated to banking.
Other questionable expenses in Mautino’s reporting included: an additional $30,000 in state travel reimbursements for legislative duties and service on audit commissions since 2005 — paid by taxpayers' money; $271,417 in state agency payments to family-owned Mautino Distribution Company since 2005, with increased annual payments occurring after Mautino’s promotion into Speaker Mike Madigan’s House Majority leadership team in 2009; $33,000 paid to his wife’s family’s pizza restaurant since 1999; and $273,973 paid to a local bank from his campaign fund.